Joanna Verano

Joanna Verano

Sections: Soprano
Years active: 2010 – 2019

Originally from the Philippines, Joanna Verano moved to Chicago to take her Master’s in Arts Administration at the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago. She currently works at Pearson College UWC as a Advancement Officer.

Growing up, Joanna was always surrounded by people who sang, so singing just seemed a normal things to do. She participated in school productions, but was never part of a formal choir. When her own family moved to Victoria, her two adorable and musically inclined children encouraged their mom to join a choir. Joanna was amused to discover that as she practises, they learn music as well.

Joanna’s favourite choral piece is Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion.

Stephen Lee

Stephen Lee

Sections: Baritone
Year joined: 1997

Stephen Lee began singing in early childhood and has never stopped. At the age of 17, his passion for music was fuelled when he was given a guitar, which he calls his best present ever. Fairly soon, Stephen, his sister and a friend were performing in coffee houses in Vancouver.

After completing a Master of Library Science degree from UBC and working for 14 years as a public librarian in Toronto, Stephen sought new adventure. He moved with his wife, son and daughter to Victoria. Here he worked as a part-time librarian and returned to school, taking a year of Computing Technology at Camosun College, before landing a job as an Information Analyst with the Ministry of Health.

Stephen has now retired from the work world, though he is busy as a volunteer. He has been a member of Victoria Choral Society since 1997, and served as music librarian on the board. He and his wife enjoy travelling, and they love singing so much that they have been involved in singing trips to Vietnam and Cambodia, the Czech Republic and Germany, and most recently, Cuba.

If you ask Stephen which is his favourite choral work, he will answer, “Whichever piece we are working on.”

Ella and Don Moffatt

Elaine_DonElla and Don Moffatt

Sections: Soprano/Baritone
Year joined: 2013

Ella began singing Soprano at age 8 in a children’s choir at school which performed exciting repertoire at the only shopping mall in Nelson, B.C. She then tooted on a clarinet in concert band, a tenor saxophone in stage band and later an alto sax in Quebec. She did a stint as an Alto in the high school jazz choir and a church choir in Geneva, Switzerland. After a 15 year hiatus, she came back to sing in choirs and sing and perform in two operas in Nelson over a five year period before moving to Victoria in 2013 and joining VCS. She especially loves singing the classic symphonic choral works. Ella is currently the VCS Board President and was also a Board Member from 2014 – 2016, 2018 – 2019, 2021 – present, as well as serving on the Program Advisory Committee (PAC) from 2014 – present.

Don quit piano lessons after a single year at age 7 (despite his mom being told he had a feel for music), elaborately faked playing trombone in Grade 6 Band until caught, then took six months of guitar lessons at age 24 before giving it up. He joined a guitar jam group at work soon after starting up again 23 years later and was informed by his jam mates, “If you play guitar, you have to sing.” Despite protesting that he couldn’t sing (he figured secretly singing in his car when alone on the highway didn’t count), he signed up for voice lessons with professional opera singer Jennifer Lang, although he turned around at the door and walked back to his car before mustering the courage to follow through. Jen convinced him to audition for VCS after two years of weekly lessons. Although he could barely read the bass clef when he joined, Don stuck it out and has learned much from his experience in VCS, his first choir. He is thrilled to be singing with the symphony and with the sound of the voices in harmony or dissonance in either modern or classical works.

Ella and Don met at the chocolate table at a VCS social in November 2013 and became engaged in March of 2014. They married on July 7, 2016.